“Protecting the Environment of the Pacific and to ensure sustainable development” is S.P.R.E.P.’s mandate for this year’s 23rd Anniversary celebration.
In an interview with the Director of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, Stuart Chape, he said this celebration took place when Pacific Islanders and territories as well as Australia, New Zealand, France and USA signed a S.P.R.E.P. Treaty on the 16th June 1993.
“The Treaty established S.P.R.E.P. as the regions environment organization and the treaty is regarded as the National Treaty and it sets out the mandates and objections of this organization,” he said.
“So every year on the 16th of June we celebrate that day by having a S.P.R.E.P. Day.”
But for this year’s celebration S.P.R.E.P. has decided to celebrate their 23rd anniversary by outreaching to the young people of Samoa and inviting the schools to participate and learn about the work of S.P.R.E.P..
“We decided some years ago that one of the best ways to do that, because we are hosted by Samoa that we outreach to the youth of Samoa and invite schools to come and learn about the work that we do under various programmes that cover climate change, biodiversity, waste management, pollution and environmental governance,” he said.
“Each one of our divisions that implements this programme is having a range of activities which targets the age of the children coming today.
“We are hosting four different schools which include Leififi and Avele College and Vailima Primary and Vaiala Beach School to learn about the work and the issues that is done by S.P.R.E.P..
“For example one of the schools was just learning about whales in the pacific, how important they are, how they move around in the pacific islands, the songs that they sing, so we do it in a way that attracts the interest of the children as well as educating them.
“So the important message that we are sending out is that we all have to work together to protect the environment which supports everyone.”
Moarina Togipau of Leififi College said that coming to S.P.R.E.P. and seeing all the work done by the office is very help because it gives her different ideas on how to protect the environment.
“As I have learned today there’s a lot of biodiversity in our islands and it would be a shame for us if we get rid of those biodiversity,” she said.
“It also helps me to learn more about our environment and how to sustain it as well.
“So the message that I want to give out to the people of Samoa is to keep our environment clean because it is our paradise on earth.”
Tafou Amosa of Avele College who is also an Art student couldn’t agree more with Ms. Togipau.
“We need to look after our environment especially our rare birds and trees so that it won’t disappear from our country,” she said.
“[And] also we need to stop using plastic bags because it is not good for the environment and we need to put a stop on littering in our ocean and rivers because our species living in the ocean are the most vulnerable living things if we do that.
“So we need to create our own shopping bags that we know will not affect our environment.”